Richard Vance has been identified as the pilot and lone survivor of the East River Helicopter crash that happened on the night of Sunday, March 11. Vance was piloting the Eurocopter AS350 that “went down” near Roosevelt Island around 7 p.m. EST and was the only survivor of the crash. The other five passengers — four men and one woman — died.
Vance is a certified helicopter pilot and instructor. According to CBS, his LinkedIn profile says he has worked for Liberty Helicopters for almost two years and has prior experience flying choppers with another company in Connecticut.
According to The Federal Aviation Administration, the Eurocopter AS350 “went down” near Roosevelt Island around 7 p.m. EST, adding that the chopper went upside down in the water. A witness speaking to the New York Post said that the helicopter disappeared beneath the water “in minutes.” Another witness said that one person was seen being pulled from the water onto a raft. That person has since been identified as Vance.
Vance’s LinkedIn page says he has been working for Liberty since April 2016. Prior to his job with Fly Liberty Charters, Vance worked at the Northeast Helicopters in Ellington as a flight instructor from 2012 to 2016.
At this time, there is no indication whether Vance will be charged in the incident.
Man being walked to ambulance on East End Av after chopper crash in East River pic.twitter.com/AWTxU43yVT
— Alex Silverman (@AlexSilverman) March 11, 2018
Liberty Helicopters employees did not respond to phone calls and emails requesting comment and several people gathered at their Kearny office after midnight Monday refused to answer questions when confronted by reporters.
The FAA said that the National Transportation Safety Board will work to determine the probable cause of the incident.
The East River is a salt water tidal estuary in New York City. The waterway, which is actually not a river despite its name, connects Upper New York Bay on its south end to Long Island Sound on its north end. The East River separates the borough of Queens on Long Island from the Bronx and also divides Manhattan from Queens and Brooklyn.